"My thought was New York was going to get [Anthony] unless they didn't give up enough—and in that case New Jersey was going to get him," he said. "I didn't know that for fact, but I felt that the team that got beat on it would be motivated to do something.”
This is an amazing "what if" scenario.
Let's assume that the Nets were able to acquire Anthony and Billups for Derrick Favors, Troy Murphy, Devin Harris and two first-round picks.
Let's assume that the Knicks were able to acquire Williams and Bell for Gallinari, Chandler, Felton and a first round pick. The numbers are close enough.
How does the offseason play out?
The team goes into full rebuilding mode. Nene and Arron Afflalo are either not resigned or signed and traded away for younger pieces and draft picks. Devin Harris and/or Ty Lawson are traded to teams looking for PG help.
The Nuggets rebuilding efforts will have league-wide impact. If Nene for example signs with the Houston Rockets, does the Lakers / Rockets / Hornets trade for Chris Paul still happen? Do the pieces change sufficiently that Chris Paul is a Laker?
The Jazz replace the Nuggets as the team that gets an immediate bounce from the trade. A starting lineup of Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and Raymond Felton prove formidable. A first-round loss in a tight contest gives the team hope.
I don't see a change in the NBA draft with the Nets taking Brooks and the Knicks drafting Shumpert. The Jazz and Nuggets would be wild cards, but for the sake of argument lets assume that they wind up with the same rookies.
The Nets would not have exercised the 2011 option for Billups and would still amnesty Outlaw. The Nets (not the Knicks) would have made a run at one of the injured/troubled point guards (Arenas, Bibby or Davis) to act as a placeholder while the make decisions on the future.
Would the Nets have taken a flyer on Jeremy Lin? I think so.
With Arenas, Bibby and Davis all unable to perform, and with Jordan Farmar as the only point guard on the roster, it makes sense. A time share between Farmar and Lin would have eventually given way to Linsanity. However, in this team dynamic, Lin and Anthony excel together. The key to the relationship is the hard work put in by Coach Johnson and the adjustments made by both Anthony and Lin.
The Knicks would still have signed Chandler away from the Mavericks, creating a big three of Stoudemire, Chandler and Williams.
New York would not have wasted money on Mike Bibby or Baron Davis. The Knicks likely acquire Steve Novak, and he becomes the starting SF due to lack of options.
The Knicks, playing with an elite pick-and-roll point guard, begin the season on fire with Williams averaging 12 assists per game along with 21 points. STAT leads the team in points with 24 and adds seven rebounds. Chandler grabs an early hold for defensive player of the year honors with a 15-point, 15-rebound per game average. Novak becomes the early story of the season where he averages nearly four three-pointers made per game, a product of the proper spacing of the D'Antoni offense.
So, let's correct a past mistake and trade Carmelo Anthony and Jeremy Lin for Deron Williams and Sheldon Williams.
The Nets have their superstar as they open in Brooklyn. Anthony has an offense that would revolve around him. The Nets' ability to acquire Magic center Dwight Howard is unchanged.
The Knicks get a guard better suited for their style of play and receive another stretch-the-field shooter in Williams. A deep run in the playoffs and a seven-game loss to the Heat in the conference finals makes re-signing in NY an easy call for Williams.